Sunday, July 23, 2006

'Origins of the Second World War' by My Local Mechanic

"It was the Aussies who were fightin' 'im. He was just a unknown soldier in Germany and they shoulda killed im and there'd a been no war."

"And it was also the fault of the Jews. They controlled the money and the economy was bad and the Germans believed Rudolph Hitler could save 'em from economic ruin."

Rudolph. Hitler. Had a very shiny nose.

Friday, July 14, 2006

A Gray Morning

I’m currently about three quarters of the way through a book about America’s role in World War 1. It’s called, rather aptly, “The Illusion of Victory”. It contains some truly horrific descriptions of war and some even more frightening descriptions of the incompetence of the leadership in America. Woodrow Wilson is so often revered as the man who set America on the path to Global leadership, making the spread of liberalism and democracy the cornerstone of American foreign policy. It’s curious that in all the criticisms of his arrogance, his isolation from Congress and from the American people, his vision of the US as the moral leader of the world is never questioned.

The idea that the US has both the right and the responsibility to morally shape the world is still at the heart of US foreign policy. While traditional interests and realpolitik still carry significant weight, most policy is still fashioned to fit within this ideological framework. This conflation of interests and values is what saw the US entry into the two World Wars, Vietnam and now Iraq.

The blogger at Baghdad Burning has written:
It's like Baghdad is no longer one city, it's a dozen different smaller cities each infected with its own form of violence. It's gotten so that I dread sleeping because the morning always brings so much bad news. The television shows the images and the radio stations broadcast it. The newspapers show images of corpses and angry words jump out at you from their pages, "civil war… death… killing… bombing… rape…"

With Iraq still crippled by unimaginable sectarian violence three years after “liberating” the Iraqi people, it seems absurd to speak of the progress of democracy and liberty as justification for the war. As the investigation continues into allegations of US soldiers raping a fourteen year old Iraqi girl, then killing her and her entire family, it seems grotesque to hear the Bush administration claim their country is the protector of freedom and human dignity across the globe.

And yet, while politically I’m a realist and generally a bit of a pessimist when it comes to human nature, I also truly hope that it is possible to limit this kind of suffering and conflict. It must be.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

And Not Only That...

In addition to the Director of Lessons Learned there also appears to be two Ethics Advisors and a Director of Fact Checking, all of whom earn over $US100,000 a year.

Over at
AMERICAblog there's some pithy advice from Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-IL) who suggests that to save money the White House should "consolidate these positions into a Director of Irony."

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Things Which Are Absurd and Drive One To Drink

Say hello to the White House Director for Lessons Learned.

Then grab your handbag and take a stroll through the Margaret Thatcher Centre for Freedom. Spend time perusing the stated goals of the Centre:

"The Thatcher Center will study and assess the threat posed to U.S. and British national interests by supranational institutions including the United Nations, and the International Criminal Court (ICC). Drawing on the Heritage Foundation’s extensive expertise in this area, the Thatcher Center will play a lead role in shaping U.S. policy with regard to reform of the UN, and opposition to the ICC. The Center will champion the defense of the nation state in the face of efforts by America’s strategic competitors and opponents to limit American global power, and to restrict her ability to confront tyranny and advance freedom and liberty on the world stage."

And bask in the warm glow that is this Lady's legacy to the world.

Happiness Is...

When the troubles of the world seem overhelming, don't let them get you down.


Tuesday, July 11, 2006

When Love Goes Bad

It seems there's trouble in paradise.

After today'll be no more snuggling up on the couch in the evening to read over the budget. No, the partnership between these two soul mates has been torn asunder by betrayal and dishonesty.

"He promised. He crossed his heart."

"Stop snivelling Peter. I lied. I always lie. Deal."

Doesn't it just fill you with bright shiny happiness?